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Understanding Your Credit Report

Understanding Your Credit Report

Credit Report - A credit report is a record of an individual’s past borrowing and repaying, including information about late payments and bankruptcy.

There are three credit reporting agencies in the United States: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. A credit reporting agency gathers information from various providers and supplies credit data on individual consumers. Each credit reporting agency has its own formulas for calculating credit scores.

Companies that supply your credit information to consumer reporting agencies have to follow specific credit reporting rules, as listed under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. The act stipulates who can obtain a copy of your credit report and in what circumstances.

What is a credit report?

Your personal credit report contains details about your financial behavior and identification information. Each credit reporting agency collects and organizes data about your credit history from your creditors’ and public records. Your credit report is available to current and prospective creditors, employers and others as permitted by law, which may speed up your ability to get credit. Getting a copy of your credit report makes it easy for you to understand what lenders see when they check your credit history.

How can I get my credit report?

As a Gerber FCU member, you can get a credit report every 90 days at www.GerberFCU.com. Click ‘ID Protect’ under the Plan tab.

Also, under federal law you are entitled to a copy of your credit report every twelve months. To obtain a free credit report go to www.annualcreditreport.com. There, you can get your credit report from all three credit reporting agencies — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion — once every 12 months.

If you have been turned down for credit, employment or insurance you may qualify for a free report. Contact the company that denied you service and request the name and contact information of the credit bureau from whom they obtained your information. You can then contact this credit bureau within 60 days using the information provided to obtain your free credit report.

How often is my credit report updated?

In general, creditors forward information to the credit reporting agencies monthly. The day of the month that each individual creditor sends updates varies. In other words, the credit reporting agency might receive an update from creditor A on the first of every month and from creditor B on the 11th of every month, etc. This is why it’s important to access your credit report on a regular basis.

Do you have inaccurate information on your credit report?

Inaccurate information on my Credit Report

How to Dispute Your Credit Report - If you have identified information you believe to be inaccurate on your credit report, simply call 1-855-506-0990 to initiate a dispute investigation. There is no fee associated with disputing inaccuracies on your report.

Identity Theft and Credit Fraud

Add a Security Freeze – A security freeze will prevent a credit reporting agency from releasing your credit information without your express authorization.

Add a Credit Fraud Alert – If you suspect someone is committing identity theft against you, you may want to add a fraud alert to your credit file.

Checking your credit report

When you apply for a new credit card, loan or extension of credit, the potential lender will most likely check your credit report before making a decision. You should too. Check your credit report several weeks or even months prior to making a large credit purchase.

  • Get an easy-to-read summary of your credit accounts and total debt — both existing balances and available limits.
  • Budget and plan for the future.
  • Ensure the accuracy of the information reported about your credit. This is especially important when you’re getting ready to buy an expensive item such as a car or a new home.

Want to learn more? Log in to ID Protect at www.GerberFCU.com. Click ‘ID Protect’ under the Plan tab. If you have never registered, contact Member Service for an access code.

ID Protect Log in 

Once registered, download the mobile app to:

  • View your credit report and score and have immediate access to credit alerts,
  • Connect to dedicated fraud specialists in the event you have suffered an identity fraud incident
  • Report lost/stolen credit or debit cards 24/7
  • Connect easily file a claim for identity fraud expense reimbursement to cover expenses associated with restoring identity

Available at the Apple App Store or on the Google Play Store, search ‘ID Protect’.